Misunderstanders of Islam can even be imams, and they’re rather thick on the ground these days. Memo to Ibrahim Hooper and Salam Al-Marayati: the peacefulness of your religion, which you so loudly insist upon in the West, seems to be awfully hard for some of your coreligionists to grasp. What say you call for the international institution of programs in mosques and Islamic schools teaching against the jihad ideology of Islamic supremacism?
“Former imam convicted in France for Chechnya-related terrorist plot,” from AP (thanks to Twostellas):
PARIS (AP) – A French appeals court sentenced a former imam Monday to five years in prison for involvement in a plot to stage attacks in France to support fighters in Chechnya.
The Paris Court of Appeals stiffened Chelalli Benchellali’s original 18-month suspended sentence, imposing instead a five-year prison term, and ordered him to return from Algeria to serve his time in France.
Benchellali, his wife and two sons were among 25 people convicted in June 2006 in the plot, apparently aimed at calling greater global attention to the cause of Muslim Chechen rebels fighting the Russian government.
Their family was considered by prosecutors to be at the center of the plan, under which some members of the group traveled to a base for Chechen fighters to learn about explosives and chemical agents.
The prosecution contended the group was plotting an attack in Paris, but could not identify the target. The Russian Embassy, a police station and the Eiffel Tower were mentioned during investigators’ interrogations.
Benchellali, an imam at a makeshift mosque in Venissieux, outside Lyon, was expelled from France to his native Algeria after receiving his original suspended sentence.
Prosecutors had appealed because they considered Benchellali’s sentence too light.
In Monday’s ruling, the court upheld Benchellali’s conviction for criminal association with a terrorist enterprise, and sentenced him to five years. […]
The network was dismantled in two waves, in December 2002 when investigators stormed two houses in the Paris suburb of La Courneuve and the nearby town of Romainville. They found gas canisters, fuses, chemicals and a suit to protect against chemical attacks. In January 2004, police made a second wave of arrests in Benchellali’s town of Venissieux, and found chemical products, including ricin.